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7 months ago @ 8:49AM

Calumet Wins Back-and-Forth Thriller over Chassell

Monday night’s girls basketball clash between the Calumet Copper Kings and Chassell Panthers came down to the final 60 seconds. When the dust settled, the Copper Kings emerged victorious, 39-37.

After 31 minutes of the tightly-contested game, the Panthers were up by one, 37-36. Chassell had just taken the lead after their leading scorer, Jenna Pietila, hit a three-pointer. The momentum was in their corner as the clock ticked down.

The Copper Kings, however, had a plan. It involved getting the ball into senior forward Molly Larson and from there, into the hoop. It worked as she received a bounce pass inside and she banked the ball off the glass for two and a foul. She sunk her foul shot and the Copper Kings had the cushion they needed to seal the win over a Panthers team that was the runners-up in the Class D State Finals a year ago.

Larson not only scored the winning basket, she led her team with 13 points.

“Molly played a great game,” said Calumet head coach Matt Laho. “She is growing a ton for us.”

The game started out as a defensive battle. Both teams worked the ball around their offensive horns struggling to find an easy basket in the first quarter. With three minutes remaining, the score was tied at just four. Things finally started to fall and the quarter ended with the Panthers on top, 12-7.

In the second, the Copper Kings picked up their defense while Chassell played timid, seemingly afraid to make a mistake.

“We weren’t doing what we had talked about doing,” said Chassell head coach Bill Sleeman. “We were flat and not making our cuts and hitting our spots.”

The Copper Kings limited Chassell to just four points in the second and they poured in 10 to take the lead 17-16 at halftime. A number of their points came on some layups from quick transition baskets.

“I told the girls that we were down by just one point and we needed to come out and stay with them,”said Sleeman.

The Panthers took his words to heart and worked their way to a 24-21 advantage thanks to the strong play of Pietila, who led all scorers with 16 points.

However with 2:42 left, sophomore Elli Djerf turned the tables and drilled a three from the top of the key, tying the score at 24. Pietila returned the favor with a three of her own.

At the end of the third, the Panthers were up by one, 29-28.

The Copper Kings went ahead just minutes into the fourth when freshman Lizzie Torola was fouled as she went in scored on a layup. She made her free throw, putting her team ahead by one. They would go ahead by many as three at 33-30.

Pietila would not give up and kept the Panthers in the game until that last minute.

“The fact that we lost by two to a good team says a lot,” said Sleeman. “This Calumet team is a good one. We have to build on the positive going forward. The positive is the fact that we were right there with them for much of the game. One play here or there and it would have been our game.”

Chassell 12 4 13 8 – 37

Calumet 7 10 11 11 – 39

CTS: Pietila 16, Hietala 4, Sleeman 9, Rautiola 8; Fouls: 14; Fouled out: Hietala; 3-point field goals: Pietila 3, Sleeman 1

CLK: Anderson 2, Kiilunen 5, Larson 13, Djerf 10, Halonen 6, Torola 3; Fouls: 8; Fouled out: none; 3-point field goals: Djerf 1, Halonen 1

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